How does one provide solace? Flowers? A well written note? How about, a visit with a little baby?
There’s nothing like the sweet face of a baby to make people think of the good, but music playing and memories shared can also help.
I’m thankful for a long coffee/smoothie chat with a friend.
We speak at our writing group, but this was a nice chance to have a conversation, just the two of us.
I owed her a coffee for reading over my short story I recently submitted, but we ended up talking for very nearly three hours.
We talked about writing, cats, and our possibility of ending up the stereotypical old cat ladies someday.
It’s hard when you see family and friends, all coupling up, getting married, and starting families. It’s nice to speak to people who understand how it doesn’t all come so easily for some of us.
I’m thankful for feedback from an editor.
I was fearing my draft wasn’t what the editor wanted or expected, but she seemed happy with things, for the most part.
Could I work on the ending? Well, sure. I do appreciate feedback from an editor and that’s what I got.
Now to think how to end the piece. Hmm.
I’m thankful for a pleasant pitch surprise email.
I saw a call for pitches about the special relationship we have with our animals and I thought (since it’s ten years since my guide dog died) this would be the perfect time to write about her. I sent the pitch out the day before I left to visit the Yukon, more than a month ago. After a few weeks I didn’t think I was going to hear back. I figured the answer was a “no”.
I’d been expecting to hear from that first editor, but coming home to an email from this second one was such a welcomed surprise.
The subject matter is perfect and the pay is not bad at all either.
I’m thankful for a first successful conference call with people I know I’m going to learn from.
There were several of us calling in and it made it difficult to all get a chance to speak, not over each other either. Still, I think this will be good for me.
This organization gets together to discuss the topics that are relevant and might be of some interest.
Then we decide who’s going to write what. I offered to write a review for a book someone has written. I think I can handle that as my first assignment with VisionAware and I like reading and learning about self publishing.
Then I get to interview the writer. I think this will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn some editing skills and how to divide up work, to figure out who is the best person to write specific pieces.
Anyway, all of them seem like highly intelligent and curious people from many different walks of life. I can only benefit from that.
I’m thankful when the pain eases.
After two days of it, intense as it is, I can come out of it on the other side and view the rest of the pain I live with in a new light.
I can learn new lessons from the pain, even after all these years.
I’m thankful for another lovely talk with my neighbour.
We are almost forty years apart in age, but somehow we have arrived at this moment in time with similar outlooks on life, from some of the things we’ve both been through.
We both discussed what we know we deserve and the lessons we’ve had to learn, often the hard way, to arrive at this conclusion.
We are both on our own, sometimes uncertain whether we can do it, but that’s why I am glad we’ve found a friend in one another.
I’m thankful for a reminder of friendship.
It’s really one of those little Facebook friend reminders, but someone chose to share theirs with me.
Our first connecting online, then in person, but it all matters, adding up to the relationship of mutual respect we have today.
Sometimes, when I don’t get stuck reading the battles going on in comment sections of breaking news stories, I really do like Facebook. I like those I follow on it even more.
I’m thankful for a beautiful word from my mentor.
Sometimes, her words of advice or encouragement just completely blow me away.
I needed to hear those exact ones, as I prepare to work on the pieces I’m writing throughout the summer. I need to know other people have faith in me, then to build that faith in myself too. It is all necessary to believe I can do the work I have set out for myself.
That might not sound like something a child (even a grown one) should say to their parent, but we say it all the time. It’s one of those inside jokes in our family and you’d have to be quite familiar with how we roll to get the humour in such a statement.
I see it as a commentary on just how hard it is to be a parent, something we’re all realizing as grown children and a fact my brother and sister (both fairly new to parenting) are especially coming to understand. Parenting is hard and our parents did well, incredibly well.
Our mother was half of that effort. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. XOXO
Oh, Mother sounds like the beginnings of a swear word to me, but I can see that being one of the many parts of being a parent, a mother, as motherhood sometimes causes swearing (hopefully under one’s breath) to occur.
I’m reminded, every March, that Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated the same time of year in all places around the world.
When I think Mother’s Day, I think floral arrangements, but a big reason for that is my mom’s particular love of flowers, plus spring in full bloom.
The magnolia is one of my mom’s favourites.
As for Mother’s Day long gone, I think of bringing flowers to my oma, my dad’s mother.
Recently I have been thinking more about a serious topic, with the new video honouring the mother of a seriously ill child, especially as I think back twenty or so years to when my mom had her husband in an operating room, undergoing surgery in one hospital, while having her youngest daughter (me) in an operating room across the street at Toronto’s Hospital For Sick Children.
What strength she had to have shown that day. I was so focused, at the time on myself going into surgery. I was just young enough that I didn’t really think of such things, per se, as what my mom might be going through, the thought of possibly losing a daughter and/or a husband that day, however slim the chances.
Now, this year, I wanted to write an article where I interviewed some of the moms in the video and mine, but I was unable to secure a publication spot. I will write this piece, sooner or later though. In fact, I think my own mom and I could co-author a book of our own together.
So much of what she did for me, fighting for the integrated education I had, she did with such determination. She would have gladly written/spoken about it, and has done. I hope to write about it, from my perspective, at some point too. The world needs to know there is a mother like mine out there.
My mom heard I was receiving a few odd and rather spammy comments on my blog and warned me to cut back on posting on my blog for a while, to lay low, and yet here I am.
It’s not like I don’t value her advice. In fact, there’s nobody whose opinion I value more.
I always take it into advisement and, this time, while I saw her point, I decided I couldn’t not write my blog. I recognized her suggestion as that of a worried mother, one always a little afraid of what the Internet might attract. I couldn’t very well fault her for worrying about me.
I can never express everything my mom did for me, to get me through the tough times, and to celebrate the happy times, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try anyway.
I spent a night at my sister’s house, the one we grew up in as kids, staying home with my infant niece while her mother went to a Mother’s Day tea with my nephew, at his school, the same school his mother and I attended growing up.
We discussed the soother, a tool many mothers choose to give their babies. My sister didn’t with my nephew and isn’t with my niece. She has tried to avoid it. This brings up the whole judgment thing, mothers judging each other and also themselves, and everyone knows how common that is and also how toxic it can become.
I respect my sister’s decision. I respect the soother rout many moms choose to take. Neither one is the wrong one, same as breast fed/bottle/formula or the many other choices mothers must make, both big and small.
I did wonder, as I held my niece and played with my nephew, hearing about the funny kick in the air thing he did when he got off the bus and heard that I was still there, about my own thoughts on Mother’s Day.
I leave all the hard decisions to my sister, knowing in my heart that she will make the best decisions for her children, just like our mother did for us. This leaves me and my thoughts once all the crying, cooing, and little boy questions and stories have given way to me being on my own again tonight.
Mother’s Day is a time where I’ve celebrated my grandmother, now my own mother and the mothers of my precious nieces and nephews. It’s when I hear all about mother/mom and try not to think too hard about what I might never be or have or do. Will I ever be a mother myself?
As each March/May comes and goes, I feel as though the possibility of my becoming a mom grows ever slimmer. Will I ever make peace with that, if that ends up being my lot in life?
I don’t know, honestly. It may, very well, be the best thing. Truthfully, it is painful for me, when I see a mother and their baby, no matter the age, even as being a daughter is one of the best parts of being me. I see the way a mother talks and interacts with their child. I wonder what that feels like.
Do I have that, to some degree, of course. I feel the force of the bond and connection between myself and my nieces and nephews, a feeling I was unfamiliar with, just over six short years ago. Is this the same, or even close to what they feel?
I do derive some comfort when I’m told that the two intensities of emotion and love aren’t all that far apart, sure I do. Is it enough to take away all the sting of it?
I am lucky. I know that. That’s about all I know. I love my nieces and nephews, my sisters who are mothers, and my mother too. I wish flowers and family for you all.
The rain comes down. It keeps coming. Rough weather and natural events going on all over: flooding and tornados in the United State’s southwest and an earthquake in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon. One year ago a giant wildfire spread in Alberta. Homes were destroyed by the flames.
I can’t see the colourful flowers and buds in my yard. I can’t see the photos of earth, seen through saturn’s rings.
Okay, just getting the bad stuff out of the way. Now the gratitude can begin.
I am thankful for a pitch acceptance to start off the week.
I almost hate to talk about it at all, for fear that it will always wind up as a dead end, but it wasn’t a bad way to kick off a week.
I am thankful for a morning visit with my writer friends.
We met on Facebook and decided to meet in person when we, the three of us, all realized we lived so close.
One is a mother of teenagers and has had several years in the world of freelance writing. The other is a young, first-time mom, who is a science writer. Then there’s me.
We make for an interesting mixture, but we all love writing.
I am thankful for a suggestion made.
The three of us try to offer ideas for publishing opportunities we think might fit for one of us. We help each other out. That is how new opportunities are found.
I am thankful for time with my brother.
He’s been so busy, finishing school and playing with his band, but we just got a chance to hang out. We made some food and talked about where he goes from here, now that he’s graduating, and where I go with things in my own life.
We talk about that a lot. We hope to add a plan of action to all that talk now.
We plan to get back to the podcast we started last year, before things got crazy busy, but we needed one time to discuss how we want to return to it.
I am thankful for the birds that make a nest in the roof of my porch.
They fly away when I come out onto it, to sit on my porch swing, squawking at me from the tree in the front yard. They are afraid of me and angry that I dare disturb them.
Maybe by the end of the season they will get to know me and we can share the space.
I do like that they feel secure to want to build their home there and I can hear them singing, just outside.
I am thankful I got to meet and the chance to know this writer.
“There, sitting on the warm grass, I had my first lessons in the beneficence of nature. I learned how the sun and the rain make to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, how birds build their nests and live and thrive from land to land, how the squirrel, the deer, the lion and every other creature finds food and shelter. As my knowledge of things grew I felt more and more the delight of the world I was in. Long before I learned to do a sum in arithmetic or describe the shape of the earth, Miss Sullivan had taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand. She linked my earliest thoughts with nature and made me feel that ‘birds and flowers and I were happy peers.”
—Helen Keller, The Story of My Life
I’m trying to have the sense to live in the moment and to enjoy myself in that moment, whatever it might be, like Helen Keller and her teacher Miss Sullivan.
I am thankful for more time spent, just myself and my little buddy Mya.
She didn’t want to sleep the entire time. She didn’t want to miss one second of her time with Auntie Kerry.
Then Kim told me there are a few photos recently taken where Mya looks like me. I may never have my own children. My sister will never know how much this small thing, one I won’t ever likely fully understand because I can’t see the pictures, means to me anyway.
I am thankful for my last violin lesson for a few weeks.
Last time we missed multiple weeks it was I who was going away. This time my teacher is traveling.
I hope, like last time, I don’t fall too far back in my progress.
I hope her trip is everything mine was to me, all she hopes.
I am thankful for my return to the library.
I haven’t been to my writing group (The Elsewhere Region like I like to refer to it) since February, for a few reasons.
Everyone there seemed pleased to see me, a few even saying they missed me. I missed them and their wonderful imaginations.
We had little scraps of paper with a few lines of story prompt written on them, thanks to one of the members of our group, and mine included: a frog prince, a talking donkey, a cloud castle, and Betty’s wish list.
Who is Betty you ask…well I asked myself that same question. It was the first try for me, in a while or at all really, at writing fantasy. I liked what I came up with, though I have no idea where I was headed with it, but then my equipment decided to cause a problem.
I was reading my story in progress out loud to the group, they were riveted, and then the second half of what I’d written seemed to vanish. I am sure I wrote it, but my technology doesn’t always cooperate.
I am thankful I could answer a few questions about how I’ve learned and lived as a blind person, for a good cause.
My sister’s sister-in-law works with a young boy who is blind. She helps him in his neighbourhood school, but she had some questions about how I’ve grown up, how I learned, and how my mom saw it all from the parent perspective.
She had the coolest keychain on her keys. Instead of a cube with coloured squares, she has three blocks that move from one side to another, and they contain tactile dots. They are braille dots and they make different letters in braille when you mix and match them.
A fun thing to do with your hands. She sounds like an excellent teacher who wants to keep learning the best possible ways to teach her student to be as successful in his life as possible and it seems he is lucky to have her.
I am thankful for a friend reaching out, mentioning me to her friend, and a new and possible connection made in the world of women writing and women’s storytelling.
Thank you Lizzi. Women helping and supporting other women. We can always use the help. I appreciate it.
Who knows what will or will not come of it, but that is what making connections is all about.
I am thankful for a lovely first visit with my new neighbour in my home.
We had a nice talk. Many more to come.
She even warned me about the roofers coming to her house and called me this evening, to check on me, when she thought she heard a noise over here.
I am thankful for this earth.
I watched Bill Maher say that 45 needs to forget “Make America Great Again” and instead “Make Earth Great Again.”
I totally agree. Mars is cool and everything (says this fan of planets since childhood) but we don’t have licence to be careless, reckless, and destroy this planet, just because some want to get there. It is not the answer to our problems of environmental and climate changes. Taking care of this place, the one already with plenty of water and life and the air we breathe, that will benefit us all in the end.
As many said, every day should be Earth Day for us all.
I thank all the scientists in my life: my oldest friend, my many excellent doctors over the years, my cousin and his wife, my new friend who is also a writer, Bill Nye The Science Guy (for teaching me to love our solar system when I was a child), and to so many who are much smarter than I am in these matters.
I owe science big and I believe those who marched all around the world were warranted in doing so. We need to make a statement. Science is worth fighting for.
I am thankful for another excellent episode of Anne The Series.
A young girl runs through a dark, snow covered forrest, carrying a lantern and wearing only a thin layer of night clothes.
Ahead By A Century.
I am glad Anne and Diana are allowed to be friends again so soon, but I didn’t expect these three things to happen, all in this one episode of Anne The Series: Diana’s sister almost dying, Anne meeting Great Aunt Miss Josephine Barry, and Gilbert suffering a huge loss.
The fist fight is one of the memorable parts of this one, likely brought on by grief and a need to defend a newly growing love and respect, even if the source of that love and respect doesn’t make it easy, like one before her.
Though Anne is conflicted about what her future should be, between romance that most young girls are desperate for and her strong ambition, she knows when she listens to her heart.
This episode is all about letters, long lost pleas that will now never be addressed and unfinished business and apologies.
More flashback with Marilla this time, as a young girl, about Anne’s age. Sadly, youth cannot last and family obligations altered everything, but not necessarily for the worse, for some more than others.
Matthew offers to help Gilbert, Marilla and Gilbert have a enlightening conversation about place and time, and Anne finds a kindred spirit in old Miss Barry, who the writing hints as having had a long same sex relationship with another woman. This was never even alluded to in the series I loved growing up, but the times are changing and I am glad for that. It was one of the pleasant surprises of this week’s instalment.
Some of my favourite themes explored in this narrative are those exploring grief, loss, stubbornness, regret, and how decisions can or may influence the future.
Anne goes to give her apology when she finds an abandoned house, Marilla is stuck with her regrets, and Matthew goes to the bank to make some mysterious financial transaction.
Season finale already next Sunday. That went fast and I hope the break isn’t too long, that a second season is in the works.
“Romance is a pesky business. No sense to be made of it.”
—Miss Josephine Barry
I am thankful for books, but not only them, but books in accessible formats.
On World Book Day, I am not just thankful for books, though I am always thankful for those. It’s being able to read them, hold them, learn from them, and to access them in either e-format, audiobooks, or in braille.
This wasn’t always possible if you couldn’t see to read and it still isn’t always made easy. I just want to be like Helen, with her love of reading and learning. Or Anne and hers.
And so one more week ends and another begins. It’s all still an endless, giant enigma to me.
Okay, well if you aren’t already familiar with the play A Streetcar Named Desire,
perhaps you won’t get my joke. I’m referring to the big “winter storm” in the eastern United States and here in Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes.
First it was the winter storm Stella and now it’s the Spring Equinox and first day of spring.
St. Patrick’s Day. World Happiness Day.
Either you’re drinking massive amounts of green beer or the day passes and you don’t do a single Irish thing, but you can’t help hearing about it. It’s the same with a day we are told to be happy.
I like and appreciate it, during its season, but it is cold and I do happily move on from it by March/April.
I am thankful for flowers and birds and baby animals in spring.
Last year, I started off one of my TToT posts with some background about cherry blossoms, but today I am including a few others in this week’s title.
I can’t see them and their colours, but I am often obsessed with flowers, especially cherry blossoms at this time of year. I don’t know why those specifically.
Then I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC last night and there is a part where a cherry tree is featured.
If you know those books, Anne spots one when she first arrives off the train, before she meets Mathew and Marilla for the first time. She imagines climbing it and sleeping up in it if nobody had come to pick her up that day.
The blossoms are mentioned more throughout this newly updated version, and I took that as a sign of sorts, that spring has sprung.
I am thankful for anything Irish.
Don’t take my word for it. Don’t just drink some green beer. Visit Ireland and see it for yourself.
It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it and neither would you.
That’s why, whenever March 17th rolls around, though I love the music (like what Ed has done in the song above, anything else can’t quite live up to the real thing.
I am thankful to be working on a new piece which should be published in one week.
I am thankful the editor informed me of the stock photo she thought about including with my piece before simply going ahead and using it, without my knowledge.
It was a photo of a girl with her eyes closed. Part of what I do regularly is to educate people on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to do this. I wish people could understand without me having to explain it.
This may sound like I’m being self righteous about this kind of thing, but even if a girl with her eyes closed may say, right away to readers, “this woman can’t see,” it feels highly stereotypical and won’t help progress with people’s understanding and acceptance of those of us with disabilities.
I am thankful for the feeling of my baby niece’s soft head under my chin as I held her against my chest.
I held her while she slept. She has so much hair and it is so lovely.
I am thankful for her ability to already raise her head by herself.
I held her while her oma warmed up her bottle and I couldn’t believe how strong she already is. She will be one month old this week.
I am thankful for my four-year-old nephew reading his books to me.
Okay, so he didn’t so much read as explain about his favourite dinosaurs, but he did spell out “L i t t l e” on the sign as we were picking up a pizza.
So, he’s on his way. I try to explain to him that I can’t read his library book to him because my eyes don’t work. His response still is “my eyes work” as a way of comparing or reassuring himself or maybe just to inform me. I’m not sure, but, If I’m going to have a bonus thankful this week, it’s that his eyes do, indeed, work.
I am thankful when one of my really bad headaches subsides.
I am thankful for a doctor who understands when I can’t make it to my previously scheduled appointment, do to said awful headache, and their ability there to reschedule so soon.
I am particularly upset when I hear all the talk, south of the border, here in Canada, of U.S. healthcare. I want the kind of care I get, for every person who has lived with awful headaches, needed major surgery, been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease or illness, or who lives with a disability to not worry about not being covered or having to pay giant medical bills.
People in Canada complain about long wait times, convince themselves that our neighbours have the better options for medical treatments, and some may have terrible experiences with Canada’s healthcare system. All I know is my own experience and that of my family.
Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance companies, deductibles, premiums, and whatever else I keep hearing, is all I hear when I hear the debates going on in the U.S. They talk of consumerism and shopping for the best health plans. Healthcare isn’t about shopping, even if so much of our society is all about consumerism. This is, in some cases, about life and death. It’s about feeling unwell or being able to be happy for more than only one day a year.
Ugh! It all gets me so fired up honestly, because I know what it’s like to need my country’s medical system. I have disability and medical conditions I depend on being treated for. I am lucky here. I hate how too much of the world still doesn’t get it.
It was a week where I could care less about the actual March Madness, as I am no basketball fan, but…as for some other madness:
This new live Ed Sheeran song is another example of music, but with spoken word, poetry thrown in the mix.
I’m thankful for winter weather, while it’s still winter.
We went from above seasonal and warm temperatures at the beginning of the week and we’re ending it back firmly in winter, but spring is only officially a few weeks away now. The end and a new beginning, as many think of the arrival of spring, is on its way.
I enjoy a chilled night, without a harsh wind preferably, and feeling the gentle sprinkling of snowflakes coming down around me in the air. I’m going to miss that crunching noise when I walk outside in the packed snow underfoot.
I wish everyone could see that winter is supposed to be cold, to have snow, and to not show such love for the climate change that has an effect on nature and wildlife, and not in a good way. We should think about them a little more and less about our temporary discomforts. I know it’s hard. I don’t like freezing either, in the moment. But I do care about species such as butterflies and bees who pollinate. Those guys need spring to come in its own time. We shouldn’t try to rush it just because we are sick and tired of winter.
In the comments for TToT this week I say where I am from and what I love about living here. I love the four seasons we in Canada are lucky to experience. I grumble and groan my share, when I am shivering or sweating, but I want the planet to maintain itself, for my nieces and nephews, for a long long time to come.
The cousin and his wife I listed above, as a thankful, they work with nature and the environment. They’ve seen signs that aren’t good signs. They worry because they see it up close. They’ve taught me a lot.
I am thankful for people like them, doing all they can, to teach about the natural world we often neglect.
I’m thankful for the feeling of holding a baby.
She is such a contented baby too. As long as she’s not hungry, she’s happy to sleep a lot.
For me, I can feel disgusted with things happening in the world or whatever, but then I hold her and I feel the slight pressure of her in my arms and her breathing as she sleeps so still. It’s peaceful.
I then watch my nephew, all his energy, and how big he is. I am thankful for these children, at the separate ages that they are, and I know they grow so fast.
I am thankful for books and the freedom to read any book I want to.
This song is the feeling I felt when the bright Mexican sunshine was full on my face while I sat writing up on my balcony, overlooking my small bit of the city of San Miguel de Allende. It was hard work, the writing part, but I couldn’t have asked to be doing it anywhere better.
I felt alive. This is my first thankful. I could write many more.
I am thankful that I got to discover a spot I never would have known of before. San Miguel de Allende is an interesting place and it is just one of many in such a spectacular country of Mexico, so unknown and unfamiliar to me, such a short time ago, So much more to learn about and explore, I can tell. I just barely scratched the surface.
It isn’t a resort. It isn’t on the ocean, but I admit, logically or not, my heart skipped a beat at the thought that I was closer to blue/grey whales at that moment in time, than I’d been in a long time.
My ears popped going through mountainous terrain to get to the city, but boy was I pleased when I stepped out of that shuttle and onto that uneven sidewalk and a whole new door was opened to me, both literally and figuratively. I will never, as long as I live, forget that moment.
I am thankful for the villa we had our writing workshop in and where I got to call my lodgings for the week.
I soon learned my way around, from my room to the kitchen and meeting area and to the lovely outdoor spot. I didn’t realize the way some houses are constructed in Mexico, was totally not expecting it, but was pleasantly surprised by the indoor/outdoor set-up.
I loved my room and its cool interior and the open balcony just a step out my doors.
I am thankful for my sunny writing spot, a day bed set up outside, by the railing. I would go there to write and to listen to the sounds of San Miguel, just outside of the wall of the villa.
I am thankful for the levels of emotion I went to with my writing during the week.
I didn’t expect it to get quite so emotional. It seemed like that for everyone in the class. We all dug deep and we shared a lot in one, much too short week.
I am thankful for the garden area of the villa and the peace and tranquility I found there.
There were so many plants and nature was there, right at my fingertips, in the middle of the city of SMA.
I am thankful for soundscapes.
We had to record somewhere in San Miguel and try and write from it. This was, perhaps, not so difficult for me as for some in the group, but I found a way to make it my own. A lot came from it.
I am thankful for special and unexpected experiences while traveling.
I was serenaded by some mariachis. It was uncomfortable for me, all that attention focused in my direction, but I recognize the special experience for what it was.
I am thankful for the chance to meet my writing mentor in person.
She made it possible that I even knew of San Miguel and she gave me some added strength and determination to try traveling by myself for the first time. She offered just the right incentive and I was determined to make it happen.
She took so much time out of her life and planned for me to be as safe as possible and to have the most enriching time imaginable.
She took me out in San Miguel one night and we had a lovely dinner, talking about Mexico, travel, writing, and so much more. She gave me her time and her knowledge, having been where I have not yet found myself.
She directed me safely, letting me figure things out for myself, with my own heart, mind and white cane. She was thoughtful in her descriptions, all from her creative writer’s mind. She spent time with me, more than she needed to, and showed me so many things I may have otherwise missed out on, with all the visual elements of travel and exploring new places.
I am thankful for so many things and I could keep listing them, but I am determined to write separate, individualized pieces about all the magical moments of my trip, including the amazing people I met and what they did for me, how they affected my life, in so many ways.
I am thankful for glimpses of the culture, architecture and religious beliefs of Mexico.
I am thankful, too, for the unforeseen spiritual awakening I had, in an unexpected place of vitality and passion. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
I am thankful for our day out, visiting makers. My writing mentor set out to show her class of writers that we too make something of value, even if it can’t be seen in as big a way or touched, like a statue or a piece of art.
I am thankful for the guide I had on our day out.
She spoke no English and I no Spanish, or very little if any. This presented a problem. But she was there, with a gentle, guiding hand and just in case, and we both got so much out of it through the silence, I can’t even express. I will never forget her and I will write about the way she affected my life too.
I am thankful for the wisdom and the inspiration and reassurances for the kind of life I can have in the years to come and for the truly fascinating stories I heard. I am thankful for a pizza night full of lively conversation and the best sharer of the villa I could have asked for. I am thankful for the radiant love freely given and the stories and the camaraderie of all. I am thankful for fruitful partnerships which fostered positive discussions I will never forget. I am thankful for those willing to listen. I am thankful for the laughs and the insightful talks and the likeminded writing companionship. I am thankful for steady arms on unfamiliar surfaces and much patient assistance with pesos and with my sparse Spanish. I am thankful for roof-top views, shared margaritas, and the invites to travel again, with new friends, in future.
I had to write about my thankfuls, but I am still processing so much of this. I am told I will have many more meaningful experiences like my week in Mexico and that more is to come, that this is the beginning of something and not the beginning and end of just one week. I hope this is true, but I will never forget this one as, in so many ways, my first, so many firsts.
I am thankful for all the help I had to travel alone and for the angel that watched over me while I went, as I was told by a kind and talented man.
I am thankful for all the food our mentor and leader of the class put out (including fruit, chocolate, tea/coffee/water) because she said she believed it helped inspire loads of creativity and the ladies who cooked for us and the flowers everywhere. The perfect environment for writing and creativity and all that needed inspiration.
I am thankful for what I came away with, the writing I did. I am working on it some more yet, but hope to publish my story at some point.
I am thankful for the last night, with the thematic musical entertainment, the fact that I vowed to try new things and ended my week of that by eating crickets, and for all the brilliant writing shared by everyone in the class. I am thankful for the support I received for my piece upon reading it aloud.
I am thankful for my family’s support, even though I know how hard it was, at times, for some of them more than others. I would be nowhere near where I am now if it weren’t for them.
I am thankful for the confidence I felt and, even more so, for the fear that persisted and fuelled me. It’s still feeling me.
I am thankful for the reaction from my cat and my dog upon arriving home. My cat made a long mewing sound like I’ve never heard. He sounded excited, to me anyway.
I’m not sure what good it will do in the concrete ways that matter, but I am thankful for all the protests I’ve seen happening against the cruelty, ignorance, and arrogance in the US government, especially these last few weeks since I was away.
Those judges and lawyers working to fight against such unfair actions taken without any care to those hurting. Those fighting are likely putting their butts on the line, some maybe even risking more than we realize at this given moment.
Canada is nowhere near perfect, not hardly, but I am thankful for the total difference in feeling I notice here. I love a lot of Americans, some I’ve met oh so recently, but the country as a whole makes me very uncomfortable now, feeling vulnerable, but it’s clearly the government I have a problem with. I hope this changes one day. May seen as though I’m generalizing here, but believe me, I wish I hadn’t felt that when traveling back through the US.
Just put yourself in the place of someone coming to a new country because you feel in danger in your own.
How can you not help but try to understand what that must feel like? How can any of us avoid that, just because it’s an uncomfortable thought?
I can’t imagine having to leave my home, the only place I’ve known, so I am thankful to be back in my home of Canada. May it always be a place of peace, even when threatened by hate like the rest of the world finds itself, more and more.
There is so much happening, in my world and in the world at large. I am just trying to survive the helplessness of it all, and the best thing I can think of is to write through it all, through all the pain and the confusion and the uncertainties. This must include self care, right along with care for and of other people and our planet.
This taking new chances to hopefully produce new and eye-opening perspectives is about all I can think to do to appreciate life. Things can be hard, are rough, for a lot of people. I say, take a leap and step off that ledge, metaphorically of course, or use your best judgment. Just do something.
I want to share more photos, but those can be a bit tricky for me. I asked for them, for the record of preservation, to show my family. I can’t quite keep them straight, never knowing if what I include and think is really what it is. I will do another post, once I get that straight. Most of them were posted on Facebook, but I never want to share without credit or explanation.
It’s almost here. It’s coming back. They’re getting it right.
Lots of shows get brought back, but how many ended with their final two seasons written and run by a different show creator than the one who came up with the idea for the show in the first place?
Well, Amy Sherman-Palladino was the brains behind the whole thing. She wrote each script, with all the fast talk and obscure literary, scientific, and cultural references thrown in. As someone obsessed with writing, I still don’t know how she did that.
So, she had some sort of issue with something and left before the show came to its actual end. Some say that means it never really did.
Therefore, Netflix is bringing it back for a series of episodes, covering all four seasons, to start with.
Knowing you the way I do
I only wanna be with you
And I will go
to the ends of the earth,
’cause darling, to me that’s what you’re worth
Where You Lead
I will follow
Any-Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need-If you need me to be with you
I will follow
Where you lead
If you’re out on the road
Feelin’ lonely and so cold
All you have to do is call my name
And I’ll be there
On the next train
I always wanted a real home
With flowers on the windowsill
But if you wanna live in New York City
Honey you know I will
I never thought I could get satisfaction
From just one man
But if anyone can keep me happy
You’re the one who can
Oh baby, ohh, I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead
all about home, but the theme continues on this week with that of a city/town or other place.
I am all about place too, so I could relate and everything, but for some reason I drew a blank last time. Funny I should be able to come up with something right away about home, but no songs jumped to mind.
Well, this one is more a fictional place, the town of Stars Hollow, featured in Gilmore Girls. Still, I’ve continued to watch the series since it ended back in 2017, soon after I’d just moved into my own house.
I am someone who finds a lot of support and comfort from the home I grew up in, which my sister and her family now lives in. I have my home, which she and I first purchased and lived in together. Wherever my parents and my family are is where I consider home. Yet, I still am drawn to all sorts of places, as themes for life.
This fictional town is one of the best creations ever on television in my opinion. It’s full of life and love and unique characters, as home should be. And since I and so many others are eagerly awaiting the countdown to Thanksgiving in the US because that’s when the latest instalment of Gilmore Girls airs, I thought I would write about how even a show can represent home and a fictional town can feel like the comfortable place you always wish to return to.
No quote full of wisdom can possibly be any greater than the ones that come from young kids and their imaginative little minds. I am feeling that most acutely and holding on, looking for a little bit of that in me, while the little ones in my life remain this age and teach me so much.
For some reason, some reason we can’t figure out, his mother can’t quite explain, my nephew calls his lungs boulder slipper lungs.
The things the children in my life continually come up with are things that are constantly surprising me and making me smile.
My nephew, for example, he loves noodles and he wants them plain, with only butter. He loves what he refers to as “Grandma’s noodles,” but I think my brother, for example, may pick out the Simpsons quote from the title of this week’s TToT post if no one else has the foggiest clue what I’m referring to.
I was thankful my sister, brother-in-law and nephew made it home safe from their first vacation together out west to visit family. It was my nephew’s first airplane ride. Western Canada and Alberta means dinosaurs for my nephew and fishing for my brother-in-law. My sister was just glad to get away with her two favourite boys. With my nephew starting JK in a couple weeks, things are about to get busier.
For their affect on my life.
They teach me to keep an open mind, even though they often feel like they are right, so who’s to say who’s right anyway?
For instance, if you were to try and convince my nephew that lungs are not called boulder slipper lungs, he likely might not believe you, but school will soon start and who knows what sorts of logic and teachings he will be introduced to then and there.
Reminds me of that song by Canadian band Rush, “The Logical Song”.
That my family puts up with my writing and this blog, are as supportive as they are, when I know many writers aren’t quite so lucky.
A lot of people write memoir and non fiction which involves stories of their family members in it. This can create resentments and other issues. Recollections are different for everyone. I needed to express myself, but how to do that without alienating those I care about?
Of course, if I write (even in my fiction), people in my life are going to appear because they are most of what matters to me.
I know they respect my need to express myself through words, but I never want to sacrifice their trust in me or their needs for that self expression.
Hmm. Perhaps I really should just quit with these pesky words and return solely to visual art instead.
That all my family survived the destructive, unpredictable tornado of August 7th, 1979
I wanted to mark the anniversary and write an interview with my parents. It was too late to speak to my grandparents about their recollections, as I only started this blog after they both passed away, though I had spoken to them both about it many times before.
It’s raining as I type these words, hard and noisily just now, and I imagine or I try to. One of those things I can’t really fathom without experiencing how it must have felt firsthand, which I am lucky and hope I never have to do. I am just glad my father survived to tell the tale, or else I wouldn’t have been here to be able to help him tell it in the first place.
For that moment that I often find myself awake to witness, at three or four in the morning, when the sound of the nighttime crickets and the start of the early morning first chirping of the birds intermingle with one another.
If I am unable to sleep in those moments, at least I am awake and tuned in to hear such a natural thing as that.
For a nephew who just turned four.
We had spaghetti and meatballs (noodles) and cake (which I received a big bite of just icing when finishing). We may need to whisper Happy Birthday for his fifth birthday, if he doesn’t grow out of the shyness he had this time when we sang out loud.
I will never forget his birthday, as I was there the day he first arrived.
It was a very special day for me for so many reasons.
This includes “THE DEEP UNDERGROUND” from my nephew’s favourite movie “The Land Before Time”.
The underground, in this case, is the front entrance which is down two steps. The Sharp Tooth is inevitably pushed off the edge by Mother, Littlefoot’s mother with the long neck.
For a chunk of days of rain, whether the weather is a loud, hard downpour or a sprinkle off and on throughout the day. We needed the rain, something to break up all the intense humidity.
For a gift from my father. I know he feels bad when he hears how much I miss the vision I used to have, but he still brings me markers when I speak of wanting to revisit all that anyway, despite my worsening sight, an activity which will likely bring back both joy and sadness all at the same time.
I heard my favourite scented markers from childhood, a somewhat brighter time in my life, visually I mean.
I have been thinking about colours, flowers, rainbows. I am going to try art, which I have been aching inside to give myself another chance to do for a while, but kept on putting it off because it will never be what it used to be for me again.
I sat down with my pack of colourful markers this afternoon, with a piece of braille paper because it is the perfect thickness, at my kitchen table because the light from the window there is the best place for maximum brightness.
Well, it was frustrating some moments and at others I had hope, with the slightly damp texture these particular marketers leaves behind and with the correct colour of marker fitting to the corresponding scent all coming back to me. I want to make something for Ivy’s Art Challenge and maybe involving 10 Things of Thankful because it has been so important for bringing light and colour back into my life these last fifteen or so months of extra reminders of the things I have to be thankful for.
That my five-year-old niece has a love of art and colouring and drawing pictures.
She got that from my brother I’m sure, her burgeoning artistic talent, but she reminds me a little bit of myself at her age and I feel somehow comforted by that notion.
I know she will continue to create beautiful things because that’s just who she is and where she comes from.
For this old favourite of mine from fifteen years ago.
This song perfectly incapsulates my feelings about the August birthday boys in my life. I celebrate their birthdays and I selfishly want them to remain young like this and never grow old, as Dolores sings, but I know that’s neither fair nor plausible.
August, within ten days of each other but spanning a year apart in age, are my two amazing nephews. They have inspired these songs today.
It’s the two boys and my niece who inspire my attitude that all art is open to me because I’ve seen the amazing things that come from their imaginations and my own imagination is the one thing I haven’t lost. They help me never to forget that.
Walking this morning through the old cemetery in Montreal, where the sun shone down, and flowers grew, and insects busied themselves about the grass and shrubbery, the gravestones stood collected and collectively silent. I observed the names carved thereupon, of generations come and gone, resting beside each other now. And I took note. All those names fading on the stones. Names from all number of nations. Names, all shuffled together on the hillside and beneath the trees. Scottish next to Italian, English and Irish next to French and Spanish, Greek side by side with Polish and German. Names of immigrants, each and every one, come here from the European continent to make and live out their short lives. Names all silent now, long gone, indifferent, forevermore in company, lying in the same ground.
What a crazy world we live in. I usually write about that in a segment I like to call, “In The News and On My Mind.” However, I just can’t today. I know very little about all the bigger than big factors playing all parts concerned.
What’s happening, when British MP Jo Cox is murdered last week? Venezuela is apparently in crisis. And Brexit is all over the news?
Is it really every man/country for itself now? Do we help each other out, or do we tear each other down, only look out for our own best interest? How can the world survive if we all think like that?
On the other hand, as the US has told itself many times, especially in the last fifteen or so years, one country can’t fix/rescue/control all other countries.
I just don’t know. Canada, where I live, honestly feels more and more like an island in a drowning world. We may be one of the more peaceful, quiet players, but that can’t possibly last forever either.
Canada Day is coming up next week. Perhaps I can figure more out about it all by then, to write more of my thoughts on it, but for now, here is my list of thankfuls.
For the chance to be a part of an important Kickstarter campaign, on a literary travel magazine start-up that is going to bring attention to all the perspectives of travel writing which exist and, up till now, may not have been heard.
If you love to read about travel, exploration, adventure, and place, check out the amazing work they are doing.
They are working to raise a certain amount, before launching their first issue this coming September. They have a goal they hope to meet, so they can pay their writers and contributors a little something, which many places don’t do.
The debate over paying writers is ongoing and I know, like world issues, is two-sided. I just like what Panorama is trying to do.
Maybe journals like it can help stem further divisiveness between cultures, countries, human beings, in the wake of all that’s happened and is happening. Can’t hurt to try anyway. Could end up making all the difference in the world.
That Brian and I finally got our first podcast episode recorded.
More work than I ever imagined it would be. Lovely feeling of accomplishment when we did finish though.
In the process, he taught me about “cross fades” and so much more.
It’s not only the recording, but it’s the editing too. We hope to make it sound somewhat professional, while holding onto our authentic style. Entertaining and educational at the same time.
We will be releasing it this coming week.
It’s like jumping off a cliff, metaphorically of course, but exhilarating.
For the challenge of writing new lyrics to a song my brother first wrote several years ago and of which has quickly grown very important to me.
This song is not your typical radio hit. It’s made up of several parts which are almost like their own little, individual songs, inside one longer musical framework. It’s a musical/lyrical journey.
The theme is getting lost for a decade of your life. What does that feel like? Well, I equate it with getting swept up and sent adrift on an ocean of endless uncertainty.
We just had to work to make my lyrics fit the parts of the song. It needed a melody and further arrangement. It had to be structured. I hope it comes together, just like “Don’t Look Back” came together in the end.
For the gift of colours in my life, even for a little while.
Big contrast from the weather we had at the beginning of the week to the end of it.
Sure, getting into a car after being in somewhere was like entering a sauna, which I am not fond of, but at least it was a dry heat, not a humid, sticky heat.
For the chance to see Finding Dory in a comfortable chair at the movies (which is a bit of an oxymoron) and for getting to see it with family.
It’s a film about the ocean, which I love. It was my first movie theatre experience with my three-year-old nephew. It was comfortable seats and popcorn and other snacks for breakfast, as it was a children’s morning movie showing.
I also must praise the theatre, not just for their foot rests and lounge recliners, but for their excellent audio description services. I’ve had lots of problems other places, for other movies, but this time it all went smoothly.
Finding Dory was moving for me, in a few places, and I am writing a piece on why that was. Not sure where to try submitting it, but I think it’s worth highlighting.
So, I made something this week. I took a chance and went for it. The world had its moments of turmoil, but I choose to remain cautiously optimistic, for now at least.
I explain to my almost totally blind younger brother about colour and he shows me all the music I didn’t know I’d been missing.
I like the tone of “Mercury Falling” and I like the imagery of it, as sometimes it’s not so easy to feel our world is headed in the right direction, but even winter and lower temperatures aren’t all bad.
“I was free with every road as my home. No limitations and no commitments. But then summer passed and winter came and I fell short for safety. I fell for its spell, slowly humming me to sleep, because I was tired and small, too weak to take or handle those opinions and views, attacking me from every angle. Against my art, against my self, against my very way of living. I collected my thoughts, my few possessions and built isolated walls around my values and character. I protected my own definition of beauty and success like a treasure at the bottom of the sea, for no one saw what I saw, or felt the same as I did, and so I wanted to keep to myself.
― Charlotte Eriksson, Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving